Monday, 6 June 2016

Euro 2016: Allez les Bleus!

Pic of black and white football on map of France in French colours

In eager anticipation of Euro 2016 in France, the French Institute’s Ciné Lumière held a series of films and talks. The series was entitled “Art and Football: A Perfect Match?”

Pic on stage introduction to Ciné Lumière film
 Introducing On the Road with Sócrates at Ciné Lumière 

I attended the first film and talk: On the Road with Sócrates (Sur la route avec Sócrates). During the 2014 World Cup, Dany Cohn-Bendit headed to Brazil. His original plan involved meeting up with his friend, the famous Brazilian football player, Sócrates. Unfortunately, Sócrates died in 2011. Instead Dany toured Brazil in a mobile home painted in his honour (see tweeted photo below). He met up with many people who knew Sócrates.

Dany travelling in Brazil with Sócrates in spirit

Dany discussed the impact of football on Brazil. Two moments stood out in the film. The first was a visit to the indigenous boy who appeared as a mascot on the pitch – unfurling a protest banner unseen by the world’s TV cameras.

The second was the agony on Brazilian faces in a café as their team lost 1-7 to Germany in the semi-final. As an England supporter, I am accustomed to the agony of watching my national team. (Please Euro 2016 spare us penalties). The agony on the faces of Brazilians accustomed to winning in style was one of the film’s most powerful sequences. You could feel every goal go in with every Brazilian wince. No need to see the game on screen at all.

Dany Cohn-Bendit was present during the film. He discussed Sócrates, how the film was made and its special moments afterwards.

Talk with Dany Cohn-Bendit after the film at Institut Français

Underdogs triumph
The UEFA European Championship is an incredible tournament. It has had many great moments in the past. It’s good for football when the underdogs win – as when Denmark won unexpectedly in 1992 or when Greece won in 2004.

I treasure memories of watching Euro 1996 at Wembley. It is great when the home nation qualifies for the later stages. Then the whole nation gets excited – including those not normally interested in football. Flags appear in every window and on every vehicle.

Euro 2016
I’m looking forward to a fantastic tournament in France for Euro 2016. Let’s have a great championship played in the best spirit of the game.

The opening match is France v. Romania on 10th June. England and Wales play their first matches the day after. Just days away… Allez les bleus!

Video copyright: vladbarza

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